Transformation and Opportunities of the Media and Publishing Industry

12 2017 | Issue 24
Text/Jasper Hou

The media and publishing industry serves as an essential chain of the cultural and creative industry. Nowadays, when discussing the traditional media, the industry always holds the view that traditional TV stations, radio stations, newspaper agencies, and magazines have met their bottleneck. Amid the slump of traditional media, the new media sector is growing at a rocket speed as media distribution channels such as Internet media, mobile platform, live streaming platforms, and new technologies like AR emerge and become mainstream. It’s without a doubt an urgency for traditional media to find a way to transform themselves and adapt to the new era. Both the general public and the media industry have started to brainstorm on finding the possible way out for traditional media. This time, Feature has invited three local media——Phoenix Skyscape, SD MEDIA, and ZA Magazine——to talk about their entrepreneurial journery and discuss on the industrial transition of the media and publishing industry in Macao.


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Phoenix Skyscape


Skyscape is an iconic local magazine covering fashion brands and lifestyle. The publication has been a witness of the rapid econocmic growth in Macao after the former Portugese colony returned to China. In the past decade, Skyscape has been growing along with Macao. Skyscape’s president Paul Ao Ieong was working for Phoenix Television before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey and kickstarting Skyscape. Paul was inspired by his previous experience at Phoenix Television and decided to build a local magazine brand in Macao. “At that time, Macao didn’t have many mainstream media outlets. Most of the publications mainly covered politics. They looked traditional and boring. So I thought I could start my own media brand that focuses on lifestyle in Macao and targets high-end audience. I also want it to be a platform that can tell the stories of all those good and kind people in Macao,” Paul said.


A three-in-one media


At present, many traditional media firms, such as newspaper outlets, are declining as the industry is shrinking as a whole. But is it going digital the only solution for these traditional media? “Many believe that the prospect of the publication industry is dim. But it doesn’t necessariy mean traditional media would eventually die out. The reality is the weak ones will be eliminated and the strong ones will prevail. And it’s worth noting that Internet media are more about efficiency. And this makes people forget the content they read fast. In contrast to that, a quality magazine is like a museum, where we formally exhibit content,” Paul commented. In the case of Skyscape, the magazine brand does not limit itself to traditional publication. It’s now going for different directions simultaneously. For instance, Skyscape also provides event planning services for its clients while actively expanding its social-networking platform so as to attract more clients. In addition, Skyscape believes that the three-in-one strategy would be the general guidance for traditionl media in the future. The magazine brand is hoping to integrate traditional publication, Internet media, and mobile media into one to form a three-in-one platform. That said, the platform will offer contents in both paper and video form, available both online and offline. Through creating this brand new three-in-one media form, Skyscape can deliver its content to the audience from multiple dimensions. That’s why Skyscape is able to stand still while facing with great challenges presented by the changing media environment.


Cultural and creative economy boasts opportunities


In recent years, the government of Macao has been proactively promoting the development of cultural and creative industry, in hopes of fusing this particular industry with the tourism sector. As a matter of fact, the cultural and creative industry has already become a strategic economic drive for many economies and markets around the world. Macao on the other hand does have a group of competitive cultural and creative industry professionals, but the city is in need of a proper opportunity to set things in motion. That is the reason why Paul wanted to establish a platform that could serve as a communication platform for the cultural and creative industry and other industries to have dialogues. The recently-established non-profit organisation, Phoenix Skyscape Economic and Cultural & Creative Association, was set up to support talented individuals in this very sector. The association plans to hold different events to help individuals and organisations in this industry network. Many renowned professionals and industry insiders from the association will be critical resources for cultural and creative industry practitioners in Macao. Phoenix Skyscape Economic and Cultural & Creative Association’s subsidiary also aggregates a group of talents from the movie industry, including directors, scriptwriters, producers, etc., and holds a batch of quality scripts. With the help of the association, investors would be able to find adequate projects to invest in, benefiting both the investors and content creators. “There is still a large growing space for the cultural and creative market with great potential in many aspects. That’s why we need to form an industrial chain to make this industry more substantial and consistent,” Paul said.


Nurturing future talents for the media industry in Macao


At present, Macao is boasting a group of media companies that have undergone successful transition. This group of media are relatively young. According to Paul, it’s true that these young media teams have more creative ideas compared with traditional agencies. Skyscape has a young team as well, with an average age of less than 30. Paul stated that he would pay more attention to the ideas coming from the young talents since they can incubate innovations for the magazine. “Media industry practitioners from the older generation are retiring. It’s time for the younger generation to take over and start a new era in Macao,” Paul said.


Facing challenges with firm belief


As the spiritual leader of Skyscape, Paul will always offer feedbacks to his employees. Paul and his team work together and eventually has brought Skyscape into the next level in terms of publication and cultural innovation. The magazine is ascending, just like a phoenix. At last, Paul stressed that it’s not connection that helps a media brand thrive, but the market. Bearing this belief in mind, Paul will continue to lead Skyscape, a major player in the media industry in Macao, to prosper and face future challenges fearlessly.